Australia's air routes today are as safe as it is humanly possible to make them. But these standards, taken for granted by the 17 million passengers who use our airlines every year, have been hard won. Again and again as our early airlines sought to build safe and efficient air services, they were overtaken by disaster. But each of these tragedies contained a lesson for the future, each became a further step towards the safe, swift, assured air services we enjoy today. Air safety specialist Macarthur Job's two volume "Air Crash" details the way these successive airline accidents over the years forged Australia's world renowned airways system. His highly successful Volume 1, published in 1991, recounts the accidents involved in this development between wars, the "learning curve" for Australia's pioneer airlines, at the same time painting a fascinating picture of the human drama behind that painful process of trial and error. Volume 2,meanwhile, covers the period from the outbreak of WW2 in 1939 up to the date of Australia's last major airline disaster in 1980. Reviewing the losses suffered by our airlines during their magnificent, unsung contribution to the war effort, Volume 2 goes on to cover the fatal accidents that continued to plague them in the post war boom years. At this time of enormous optimism, the emerging industry was subjected to a series of unforeseen but devastating blows that showed how much it had yet to learn. But just as the fascinating air disasters analysed in Volume 1 laid the foundation for Australia's airways system, so these later tragedies became the building blocks for our superb air safety standards. Volume 2 also examines several "might have beens" in which loss of life was narrowly averted, and concludes with a discussion of controversial air safety issues today.